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Over twenty breathing and chest pumping cycles are completed in five minutes when performing CPR. It can feel like a lifetime, hoping to revive someone and waiting for medical backup.
Three Huntsville police officers know this scenario only too well, and were honored at the May 15th City Council meeting for being instrumental in saving the life of Ron Smith in April. Senior Officers Brandon Boyd, Joshua Warvel, and Keith Sarraf were each presented with an HPD Lifesaving award by Police Chief and Director of Public Safety Kevin Lunsford, with family and friends (theirs and Mr. Smith’s) looking on.
Circumstance and chance played out in Smith’s favor on the evening of April 6, when a medical emergency call was dispatched to Officers Boyd and Warvel, who arrived in less than one minute, with Officer Sarraf arriving just one minute later. The officers found Smith unresponsive and receiving CPR from a bystander. Officers Boyd and Warvel began administering CPR, with Sarraf assisting when he arrived. Boyd has experience and training as an EMT and was able to manage the crisis with aid from his partners while performing chest compressions, providing rescue breathing, and monitoring Smith’s pulse. The men worked feverishly to save Smith.
When EMS arrived, Boyd began reporting Smith’s status and continued working until EMS had enough manpower to take over the scene. Smith was connected to a portable heart monitor and did not have a pulse at that time. His heart was shocked twice before being transported to the hospital.
“We had just had dinner and were going to pick up a few essentials for the new house we are building in the Wildwood Shores area,” Smith said during recovery. “I noticed as we were leaving the restaurant that my chest was feeling heavy and uncomfortable. By the time we reached the front doors of the grocery store, I got to feeling really bad and let my wife do the shopping and went back to the car. But I couldn’t get comfortable, and I got very lightheaded.”
It was then that Smith passed out in the driver’s seat with the car running in the parking lot. He said his wife told him that she had run to the door and started screaming for help.
“I guess at that point she realized I was breathing. To hear the story, it was amazing that 20 or so unknown individuals came to help. I am very fortunate that the people were there to call 9-1-1 and that the officers were in the area and responded quickly,” Smith said.
Sgt. Jeremy Carroll wrote the following in a memo to staff, “I was truly impressed by their effort and determination to save a complete stranger and it was quite the sight to see. I can say that they made this department look great, by doing what is often expected, but not required and truly encompassed the core values of this department – Honor, Professionalism, and Dedication. I am pleased to work alongside officers like this and even more so honored to have them on my shift.”
Sgt. Carroll reported that all three officers worked together in a coordinated effort to save Smith, who they did not know.
“Thank you to the officers and shoppers on the scene who were instrumental in saving my life,” said Mr. Smith. “Thank you to Huntsville and the citizens who were there just trying to help.”
An unknown woman supported Smith’s wife, by taking her hand and driving her to the hospital. Smith extended his gratitude to the mysterious angel. He returned to work on Thursday, May 17, after spending 19 days in the hospital. Doctors released him with a clean bill of health and looks forward to his second chance at life.
Chief Lunsford said that city employees are always involved in things that go unnoticed.
“I can tell you that I, too, am honored to work with these fine officers,” Chief Lunsford said.